There are five major political parties in Canada: The Conservative Party, the Liberal Party, the New Democratic Party, the Bloc Quebecois and the Green Party. There are also multiple minor political parties, including the Socialist Party, the Communist Party, the Libertarian Party, the Canadian Action Party and many others.
“When the news about Online Party of Canada first came out a few weeks ago, the reaction from the media was predictable: the initiative came across as flighty, unreliable, yet quirky and intriguing,” stated the Online Party of Canada in a news release
. “But soon after, upon further analysis, the tone has changed into cautiously optimistic. Also predictable was the reaction of the public at large: Canadian voters, disappointed by their generation of current politicians, appeared willing to give this new alternative a chance."
On Monday, Digital Journal
had the opportunity to speak with the Online Party of Canada (OPC)
founder, Michael Nicula, about how the party came to fruition, the future and the purpose of the organization, those involved and the founder’s view on some of the key issues that he thinks faces the nation today.
About the Online Party of Canada
“I looked at the political system – with some background that I have in politics – and I looked and wondered why there is disconnect with what the people want in a real democracy – which should matter – and what big government does,” said Nicula. “There seems to be a big gap in there.”
Nicula decided to establish the party online because the Internet is being used in every aspect of our life, whether it is conducting business, socializing with friends and family or gathering information from various sources. He also noted that the OPC will attract the youth because: “Is it more attractive to go to CPSAN or Facebook?”
The OPC has approximately 800 members and the number grows on a daily basis. Furthermore, Nicula explains that the official count is done by the rule put in place by Elections Canada, which asks him to get members to fill out a form and provide their name, address, date of birth and signature.
“How backwards is this?”
How the OPC is run
Nicula established the political entity, hired a Canadian team to create a website with a blueprint of his and the company provided a lot of feedback and gave him various suggestions. Nicula noted that he is “proud the website is built and hosted in Canada.”
The entire organization is funded by Nicula and everyone working with the organization is a volunteer, including the legal counsel. He added that all of the pro-bono staff has the proper education credentials.
Since the OPC is not yet registered, the party cannot offer tax credits for political donations. He does believe donations will go up once they are accepted because the OPC is completely different as there is no membership fee: “People don't have to pay penny to be able to participate in political activity.
Right now, in order to get the organization known, Nicula conducts television, radio and print interviews. He sends out news releases and submits positions on certain issues. Currently, Nicula is sending out employment opportunities for communications officers to better clarify the viewpoints.
When discussing the important issues facing the nation today, Nicula immediately made it clear that what he believes in doesn’t necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the entire organization: “My vote is equal to other members.”
On the website, the organization publishes a detailed, objective issue and provides a solution. Members or guests either vote yes or vote no. Sometimes they even put forth an issue that they feel needs to be discussed.
For example, the latest issue that was posted deals with household debt and what the government should do. Nicula, who is a certified accountant, believes the government should place a limit on credit interest rates and should not allow credit card companies (I.E. Visa) to increase a person’s credit limit if they cannot afford it.
“The credit card interest level is 20 percent. Loan sharks were eliminated from the business world because of high interest rates but now we have companies like Visa acting exactly like the loan sharks,” said Nicula. “Government should put limit on the interest rate. It cannot be 20 percent. They should force corporations to stop pushing high-limits on people.”
Furthermore, when it comes to the astronomical student loan program, the government is causing distress among students and their future because when they graduate they can’t think of family but rather the $50,000 debt they are in.
“Then you have social issues; no family, no children and can't boost the population levels in Canada. It's a chain reaction that is caused by the system that should be governed and adjusted.”
Democracy and the political establishment
“The Online Party of Canada stands in a completely different league of its own. No other political party does what we do. We're a democratic party; I don't think the other parties are democratic. They are far from it. The OPC is democratic, and, to me, that’s the biggest difference.”